Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Only in New York: A Christmas Special - Part I

Only in New York.

That's what they say, those tourists! Only in New York. 

There's no place like it, they'll say.

The magic on the streets, the vibrancy of... fucking Times Square. Or Rockefeller Plaza during Christmas time, taking a picture underneath the tree, a kissy-selfie. Hold hands whilst ice skating. (I just remembered I once, in an bland effort of unoriginal romantic whimsy, asked someone to be my girlfriend as we were ice-skating underneath the tree. Her response - "I don't want to cheat on you." I still dated her for eight months, because I hated myself.) As much as I blast doing the touristy things, I truly do understand the mystique and energy of New York City, and those once-in-a-lifetime moments that could happen at the drop of a hat.

In a New York Minute, they'll say. Everything can change! 

One minute, you're lost and beside yourself, letting the foul energy of those around you corrupt your moral core. The next, some fluke encounter happens that gives you a chance at redemption.

Last night, I had one of those moments. A New York Minute, so to speak. I'll put a disclaimer on this right now - this may not be believable. This may sound staged. This may be a bit sappy. To that, I say that if you've stuck with me for three years, you'll want to read it. It's the stories like these that make all of the hellish experiences that you've read about worth living. 

But, I digress. On I go. 

I've been having a really, really bad week. The week before - AMAZING. Coming off a relaxing vacation, I raked in dough with a positive mindset and attitude. I was smiling, getting huge tips, and, for however brief, enjoying my job. Guests were flocking to me, I was charming, confident, and being handsomely rewarded for doing so. I kept telling myself, "this is how you need to come in every day. You need to remember how to do this." 

Then I came in this week. 

The freshness began to wear thin, and I found myself more on edge. Less patient. My anxiety began creeping up on me. A few fights with cabbies happened. A few people stiffed me. A few guests treated me like shit. I tried my best to keep a smile on my face and do the right thing by people, only to be thwarted by some unforeseen stroke of bad luck. Whereas fresh-from-vacation Doorman was able to kill them with kindness, Week Two Doorman was running low on fucking stamina to keep this facade going. 

By Day 8 of my return from vacation, I'd reverted back to the angry curmudgeon, who fears everyone is going to screw him somehow.

These things, as they normally do, snowballed and my attitude shifted as a result of it. The more bad vibrations you give off on the door, the more conflict you're inviting from the streets. The more conflicts I get into, the less patience I have for the guests. The less patience I have for the guests, the less they feel obligated to tip. It all just fucking sucks. 

I've had a many of stretches like this, but the past two days were he epitome of how bad things can get when they're going wrong.

Which brings me to this:

A young hispanic woman stood in front of the door, smoking a cigarette and spitting on the ground after each puff. I've stopped asking people to not smoke there, because I'm not security. But it still pisses me off to see someone smoking directly in the front entrance of a building, not having any consideration for the people having to walk through their clouds of second-hand smoke. After watching her drop several foamy saliva bombs onto the concrete, I couldn't help but look at her with a visceral disdain. We made eye contact, and she smiled warmly. I looked the other way. 

Look at her, blowing smoke in people's faces as they walk in, having to step in her fucking mucus, tracking it all over the god damn lobby. This is the garbage that stays here. No wonder I don't have enough money to go Christmas shopping. It's because the hotel is filled with pieces of shit like this. 

Maybe last week, with a positive mindset, when things were going my way, I wouldn't have let my mind take me down that road. Maybe I would have thought she was a nice girl with some bad habits. A funny quirk about depression and anxiety (in my own, unique experience), is being fully conscious of what you want to be thinking, how you want to perceive people and situations, and how you want to treat those around you, yet your mind and body just won't fucking let you do it. I wanted to smile back at her, chalk her spitting and smoking up to being what it is, and not think about it ever again. I was fully aware that I shouldn't be judging her as a human being based on watching her out of her element for ten seconds.

But my mind had other plans. My mind was still bitter from getting the short-end of the stick the past couple of nights. My mind wanted to fester on this. 

Who the fuck raised this girl? Does she see how gross she's being? And the nerve to do it right here, in front of the door! Lowering the standard of the hotel!!! What an inconsiderate bitch! 

And so on. 

She dropped her cig into one of the lakes of phlegm she deposited onto the sidewalk, stepped on it, and made her way to the door. I opened it, she made eye-contact, smiled, thanked me, and kept moving. 

Yuck. 

Over the next couple of hours, it started raining. Hard. The morning doormen keep an umbrella stashed in the corner near the door. I don't use it, because I want people to see me soaked and shivering in hopes of it increasing my tip when hailing taxis. 

The rain subsided to a calm drizzle, and I'd gone back to my post once the pre-theatre rush was over. I stood inside the foyer, soaked, with the dry umbrella perched next to me. 

The young hispanic woman came down the steps. She smiled at me.

Hispanic Woman - "Hi, is it still raining?" 

I didn't look at her. 

Doorman - "Just drizzling."

Hispanic Woman - "Can I get that umbrella?"

I didn't have any stake in this umbrella. I hadn't used it in months.

I really, really, have a hard time believing that I'm the person who I'm writing about when I type this, but I just didn't want her to have it. I'm not supposed to be giving umbrellas away because we sell them in the gift shop, but it would have been zero skin off my back to just give her the fucking thing. 

I coldly responded:

Doorman - "No, sorry. It's my only one." 

Hispanic Woman - "Please? I'm only going around the corner!" 

Doorman - "It's not raining hard. This is the only umbrella I have and I need it." 

I knew she saw that I was drenched from head to toe, yet the umbrella was dry. Her smile faded. She hands me a cigarette and a lighter. 

Hispanic Woman - "Hold this, please." 

She lifts a scarf from her neck and begins wrapping it over her head. Once finished, she takes the cigarette and lighter back. I opened the door for her. She took step out the door, then turned to me, a faint desperation in her voice: 

Hispanic Woman - "You know - when you do a nice thing for someone, you might make their day." 

The hyper-sensitive, me-versus-the-world mindset I was in did exactly as expected: Got defensive. 

Doorman - "That's all I do. Nice things. All day." 

She puckered her lips, put the cigarette in her mouth, and as she brought the lighter up to her face, got the last word in: 

Hispanic Woman - "Right." 

And she left. 

This infuriated me. 

She has no fucking idea what I have to go through out here on a nightly basis! She hasn't the slightest idea how nice I have to be for these ingrates, only to get complained about for things that are out of my control. To get degraded and yelled at by cabbies. To get shit on and stiffed by the guests. My whole existence in this hotel is solely for the purpose of being nice, yet no one seems to be grateful or appreciate what I do till they don't get something they want. Well... FUCK YOU, lady! You don't get MY umbrella! Now, go slip on that reservoir of drool you left in front of my door and choke on that cancer stick!!!  

I stood there at the door, my wandering mind digging a deeper and deeper hole. When you stand outside, isolated, for hours on end, night after night, your mind is eventually going to get the best of you. I don't care how strong-willed or intelligent you are, having to do what I do every night will bring out some of the ugliest shades of your personality. The conflicts I get into are about 40% of the battle. The rest is trying to keep my sanity when things get quiet after 7pm. 

I immediately started to feel bad about how I treated her. Hell, I felt bad as it was happening. It's like when you're in a fight with a good friend and you're done being mad at them, yet, for whatever stubborn reason you need just a few more days of giving them the cold shoulder. You need to drive home whatever petty point you're trying to make. Like, "hey, I know you're sorry, and I would absolutely want you to talk to me if the shoe were on the other foot, but I'm going to continue to be a prick because I can't break through this wall of pride I've built. So, you can carry on with being a good human while I wallow in my own self-destruction." 

I had no reason to be rude to her. Yes, she stood right in front of the door, spitting and blowing smoke in the faces of the other guests. Yes, she could have very well walked off with that umbrella and never returned it, which would have resulted in me getting chewed out by the morning guy. Though she'd be nothing but warm and polite to me personally, which is more than I can say for the majority of people who cross my path. Even the people who tip. You can still tip and be a dick. I see it more often than not.

But what she said to me hit home. I want to do nice things for people. I want to be kind. I want to "make someone's day". It's in my nature. Or at least it used to be. I have no excuse for where I let my brain take me at that given moment. It just took me there. 

A few minutes after she was gone, it started to pour again. I thought about whether or not she got to her destination before the rain got heavy. It didn't take long for my question to be answered. 

About twenty minutes later, while I was giving a guest directions to Rockefeller Plaza, the young Hispanic Woman ran to the door. She had a to-go bag from, ironically, the Chipotle where I punched that asshole in the stomach. She held the ripped and tattered bag close to her chest, likely as a result of it falling apart in the rain. I was inside by the steps and couldn't get to the door in time, so she ended up opening the door for herself. I don't think she saw my effort to get over there in time, only my standing there when she walked in. She definitely thought I intentionally refused to open the door for her. 

She looked up at me, her eyes bloodshot and puffy. She'd been crying. Her clothes were dripping wet. The scarf she'd wrapped around her head had completely soaked into her hair, and her seemingly waterlogged food was now forcibly pressed against her chest. She said nothing and blew past me, disappearing into lobby. 

I didn't get a chance to say anything, nor did I know what I would have said had I not been distracted.

I tried to shake it off and go on with my evening, that dreadfully slow crawl to 11pm. But this began to eat away at me. I couldn't stop hearing her voice in my head, over and over again.

You might make someone's day. Do something nice. 

A few minutes later, my night would take an unforgettable turn.

Till next time...

CLICK HERE FOR PART II

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